Published Dec 01, 2003Based on the best-selling novel by Frank Bunker Glibreth Jr. and Ernestine Glibreth Carey, Cheaper By The Dozen is a family-friendly flick about the chaos of living in a large family unit.
After rearing 12 children in a cosy rural town, Tom and Kate Baker (Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt) decide to move the whole clan out to the big city so Tom can take his dream job of coaching his alma mater's football team. At the same time, Kate's memoirs are published and she's whisked off on a book tour, leaving the family to fend for themselves in their new surroundings. Faced with uptight yuppie neighbours, hostile schoolmates, and distracted parents, the tight knit family unit begins to disintegrate.
This is a fun, lightweight affair with tons of wacky antics (led, of course, by Steve Martin) and the requisite amount of heart and family values. It's a bit like Parenthood-lite. The movie offers up a message of compromise, as in parents probably can't have two demanding careers and an enormous family without a whole whack of problems, which is realistic, if not inspiring. The gaggle of young actors is cute and energetic and, for the most part, avoid that saccharine quality inherent in many a child actor.
The older kids are played by Hollywood up-and-comers like Hillary Duff (Lizzie MacGuire), Tom Welling (Smallville), Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly), and even the ubiquitous Ashton Kutcher, in a cameo as the oldest daughter's vapid model slash actor boyfriend who gets mercilessly tortured by the rest of the family. (Fox)